Myers Park Neighborhood
(and surrounding areas)
TERRITORIAL FLORIDA PERIOD:
Florida's first Territorial Governor, William Duval (photo on right
from Florida State Archives), settled in the heart of what was to become
Myers Park. John Lee Williams, in a book published in 1827,
View of West Florida, remarked that: "About half a mile south of
Tallahassee, and near the dwelling of of his excellency Governor Duvall
[sic], are the ruins of several small fortifications, which appear to have
been hastily thrown up; near one of these, a large wooden building appears
to have been destroyed by fire; some large timbers of the frame, completely
charred, have been preserved; very large spikes, locks, keys, and hinges,
have been discovered here: among other things, a porcelain lion, in a good
state of preservation: it appears to have been an ornament for a chimney
piece. At some distance under the surface, a floor was discovered,
formed of a composition of lime, and other materials, very hard and smooth.
On a part of the floor, was piled a quantity of corn and filberts, perfect
in form but very tender."
Although the location of Duval's residence is
not specified in either known version of the story, it can be presumed
that the part of the tale of The Conspiracy of Neamathla that occured when Apalachicola Creek Chief John Yellow Hare (Nokose Yoholo) visited the governor
at home, occured at this place in what is now Myers Park. Both
versions of the story, one by Governor Duval's daughter Mrs. T. P.
O'Connor and the other by Duval's friend and correspondent Washington
Irving, may be read here.
Ellen Call Long (photo from Florida State Archives), in The Journal of R. K. Call, wrote that: "... near the Cascade on Houston's Hill Governor Duval had built a home within the walls of a fort and had lived there for many years." In her Memoirs, Elizabeth Brown said that after Governor Duval returned to Florida from Kentucky, "During the summer months he built a log cabin within the walls and foundations of the old Spanish fort on Houston's Hill." In March 1822, when President James Monroe signed the bill that established the Territory of Florida, he also appointed Duval as Florida's first civil governor under the United States. It was Duval who appointed the commissioners who selected Tallahassee as the site of Florida's capitol, and he served as Territorial governor of Florida for 12 years. The 1829 Plan of the City of Tallahassee showed Governor Duval's house in "Square G" and stated that he owned the square. On the plan, Duval's residence is depicted somewhat to the southwest of the point of origin of the small stream that still originates from springs in Myers Park city park near the end of Carlton Drive on Myers Park Drive, in approximately the location now occupied by the tennis courts and restroom building in Myers Park city park. It is presumed that the ruins among which Governor Duval's residence was built and where he lived in the 1820s and 1830s, were those of Mission La Purification de Tama. Both the 1829 Plan of the City of Tallahassee and Finley's map of Florida (not dated) show a "Bath House" located just north of the spring in Myers Park city park. Finley's map also shows "City Creek" (now the "ditch" running down the center of Franklin Boulevard), flowing down the center of what was then Gadsden Street. It is difficult to regard this early cartographic effort as precise. Whether or not Gadsden Street ever followed the course of City Creek, the topography around what is now Franklin Boulevard is such that it is clear that City Creek could have never flowed in a straight line due south. After it intersected with the stream running into it from the springs in what is now Myers Park and flowed north of what is now Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Finley's map called it Spring Branch. Spring Branch meandered into the low and flood-prone area that South Monroe Street now traverses immediately south of the railroad. The owner of Florida Sheet Metal Works (on Jennings between Monroe and Adams) said that area was a wetland where he shot ducks from the front door of his business as a kid, until it was filled as part of road work during the administration of Florida Governor Fuller Warren (served 1949-1953). Although South Monroe Street is now the major street through that area, various maps of the City of Tallahassee indicate that only South Adams Street crossed the railroad until well after the Civil War.
This page was created on 5 December 1999.
Most recent revision 28 June 2005.